The 7 March Speech of Bangabandhu was a speech given by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of Bangladesh on 7 March 1971 to a gathering of over two million people. It was delivered during a period of escalating tensions between East Pakistan and the powerful political and military establishment of West Pakistan.
He announced a civil disobedience movement in the province, calling for "every house to turn into a fortress". The speech inspired the Bengali people to prepare for a war of independence amid widespread reports of armed mobilisation by West Pakistan. The Bangladesh Liberation War began 18 days later, when the Pakistan Army launched Operation Searchlight against Bengali civilians, intelligentsia, students, politicians, and armed personnel.
In his historic address, Sheikh Mujib declared, ‘Ebarer Sangram Amader Muktir Sangram, Ebarer Sangram Swadhinatar Sangram’ (The struggle this time is for our emancipation, the struggle this time is for the independence). He made the clarion call to turn every home into a fortress of resistance against the Pakistani army.
Bengalis reacted with unprecedented rage after the then Pakistani military ruler Yahya Khan postponed the National Assembly session scheduled for March 1, 1971. Stunned by the treachery, Sheikh Mujib immediately launched an unprecedented non-cooperation movement dealing a crippling blow to the military rulers.
And on March 7, 1971, he gave the historic address at Suhrawardy Udyan, the then Race Course, which inspired the nation to fight for independence. The address reduced the governmental authorities in the then East Pakistan to useless showpieces as everything ran according to Mujib’s day-to-day edicts.
This continued until the military junta retaliated with the crackdown and the accompanying brutalities against the unarmed Bengalis on the fateful midnight of March 25, 1971 and the rest is history.
The historic March 7 speech of Mujib has been included in the memory of the World International Register, a list of world’s important documentary heritage maintained by UNESCO.